Colombia is ready to impose drastic measures if tests on four patients
with suspicious symptoms confirm the presence of swine flu in the
country, Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio said Tuesday.
The government has not ruled out it will close high schools and universities and forbid the traditional first of May protest marches and cancel the Vallenato festival in Valledupar to prevent the massive gathering of people that could help the spreading of the virus.
“Once the person-to-person transmission process of the virus begins, as will happen, we will recommend suspending all activities that bring together groups of people. I am convinced that we will have to take measures like this,” Palacio told Caracol Radio.
For now, the government is awaiting test results of the four suspected cases of swine flu before implementing measures, but does ask people that recently went to Mexico to stay away from massive gatherings like the Labor Day protests.
The government reserved 15 billion pesos (US$6.4 million) to combat a possible outbreak and has acquired drugs to treat some 200,000 victims.
Airports and seaports are on high alert and security personnel is extra vigilant for passengers with possible symptoms of the swine flu.
Health authorities hope to have the results of tests on four possible virus victims in Colombia on Wednesday or Thursday.